ECONOMY

Ministers and top DT official meet on OTE

Deutsche Telekom AG’s chief financial officer met with government ministers in Athens yesterday as the media reported that Europe’s biggest phone company was nearing a deal on a stake and management control of OTE telecom. Karl-Gerhard Eick met with Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis, according to a statement. They discussed a proposed agreement between the Greek state and Deutsche Telekom on OTE, the statement said, without giving further details. Last month, Deutsche Telekom agreed to pay 2.5 billion euros ($4 billion) to buy a 20 percent stake in OTE from Marfin Investment Group SA, seeking growth through OTE’s mobile phone assets in Eastern European countries such as Romania and Bulgaria. The deal is conditional on Greek government approval for Deutsche Telekom to raise the stake and get management control. Talks between the government, which owns 28 percent of the company, and Deutsche Telekom are centered on whether the German company will have the upper hand in management, Kathimerini said yesterday. The government is aiming for «balance» in management, Kathimerini said. The two sides are likely to agree on a 10-member board for which the chairman will be proposed by the Greek state and approved by Deutsche Telekom, and the CEO will be proposed by the German company and approved by the state, according to the report. An agreement could be reached by the end of this week. Mark Nierwetberg, a Bonn-based spokesman for Deutsche Telekom, wouldn’t comment when contacted by Bloomberg News. Marfin Investment Group Vice Chairman Andreas Vgenopoulos will hold a news conference on today on «new developments» in his fund’s planned sale of its OTE stake, according to an e-mailed statement from the fund.